Purim is a festive early spring holiday commemorating the failure of a plot to exterminate the Jews in ancient Persia. The story of Purim has everything you need to captivate an audience: a bad guy – in this case, the king’s minister Haman — a beautiful and courageous queen, lots of suspense and a twist ending. Jewish families celebrate the holiday with a raucous reading of the story of Purim – you have to make noise whenever the bad guy’s name is mentioned – dressing up in costumes and sharing yummy treats, particularly a triangular cookie called Hammentaschen, after Haman’s three-cornered hat. Here are some lively Purim activities for families in the Chicago area.
JUF Book Buddies Purim
•Barnes & Noble Naperville – 47 East Chicago Avenue, Naperville
•Barnes & Noble Vernon Hills – 720 Hawthorne Center, Vernon Hills
•Borders Bookstore Oak Park – 1144 Lake Street, Oak Park
•Borders Bookstore Orland Park – 15260 South La Grange Road, Orland Park
Sunday- March 13, 10:30-11:30 am
JUF Book Buddies is a monthly Sunday morning program for families with children up to age 5. There is no cost to attend but advance registration is requested. The March program will focus on learning about Purim with arts and crafts, a storytime, songs and lots of friends. Costumes encouraged!
Hyde Park JCC Purim Carnival
5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd.
Sunday- March 20, 11 am to 1 pm
Come in your best Purim costume to this lively carnival at the Hyde Park JCC featuring games with prizes, a fortune teller, and arts and crafts. Lunch and sweet treats will be available for purchase. Bring a non-perishable food item for donation to a local food pantry in keeping with the spirit of the holiday.
Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah
3220 Big Tree Lane
Sunday- March 20, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
This Conservative synagogue in suburban Wilmette is hosting a Purim carnival that is open to the public. Kids are encouraged to dress in costume. Expect carnival games, inflatables, prizes, food and fun.
Congregation Beth Judea Shushan Wonderland
Route 83 and Hilltop Rd
Long Grove, IL
Sunday- March 20, 10 am
Congregation Beth Judea in northwest suburban Long Grove is offering a Shushan Wonderland for preschool-aged children before its Purim Carnival. The event includes breakfast, a Purim play featuring all the characters from the Purim story, and a chance to make your own grogger. At 11 am, the kids are permitted to enter the Purim Carnival early, before the older kids, to ensure a quieter experience. As always, costumes encouraged. Registration required.
Chicago Children’s Museum Jewish Connections
700 East Grand Ave.
Thursday- March 24, 5-8 pm
During this Kraft Free Family Night, you can learn all about Purim while enjoying the fun of the Chicago Children’s Museum. Special events include a hilarious re-telling of the Purim story by Hogwash Improv; sing-a-longs with Purim songs; and an opportunity to make Purim crafts including masks and a grogger (noisemaker). Of course, it wouldn’t be a Purim party without some Hammentaschen to snack on!